My name is Josie and I am lucky to be a Katie Krops Grower in more ways than I could have ever imagined!
I have always loved to be outside and gardening with my family. While my Dad was listening to the “In the Garden with Ron Wilson” radio show, he heard the story about Katie Stagliano. Katie was helping people in need by growing vegetable gardens and donating the produce to help feed her community. He knew that this would be something that I would love to do. Little did I know that it would end up helping me as much as helping others!
My Grandpa was also really excited to hear about Katie Krops and could not wait to start his own Katie Krops Garden with me at his house...the gardens were literally starting to grow! With our three raised beds and his raised bed we had four Katie Krops Gardens to grow. Everyone was excited to get our crops growing so we could start donating to the Mid-Ohio Food bank! My Dad has always loved to start seeds indoors, my Grandpa had his heirloom tomato seeds ready to go, and my Mom, Anna (my sister), and my Grandma were all pitching in to get the gardens ready to plant. I learned so much from my Grandpa and Dad from how to plan out a garden to gathering seeds.
My first donation was fresh lettuce, onions, and radishes. The lady who took my donation said, “Our first fresh out of the garden donation of the season....someone is going to love having this on their table tonight! Most of our families don’t get food this fresh.” It was hard for me to think about how many people in my community could not afford to buy fresh food. On our table there was always a fresh veggie to eat. Even in the winter, I was fortunate that we could still buy fruit and veggies from our grocery. I was so excited about knowing that I helped give someone fresh food that they would not have had. Our garden made this possible. Throughout the summer, we donated tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, banana peppers, corn, and zucchini. This summer, we added strawberries, beans, snow-peas, eggplant, broccoli, and cauliflower.
I was 12 when I started my first Katie Krops Gardens and now, being 14, I want a career that I love and that means a career were I am helping others. Being a Katie Krops Grower gave me an inside peek as to how it truly feels to give back. Donating is so rewarding. But even more than that, it is knowing that the hard work and having family and friends come together to help each other for a cause could not only change what is put on a hungry family’s dinner table, but that it could also shape my future.
When I found out that I was selected to attend the Katie Krops Camp, I was sooooo excited!! This was a chance for me to learn more about how I could help my community with hunger and meet other growers and Katie! Since my Grandpa and Dad have been my gardening mentors, one of them would get to come with me. My Grandpa won out! We were off to South Carolina! It was hard work, but it was amazing and fun. In one and a half days, we built community gardens, hosted a dinner for the community after picking and cooking the food to be served, and worked in the gardens. We learned so much from the W.P. Rawls family. My Grandpa, usually a quiet guy, was taking non- stop with the Rawls family about gardening techniques! He was having the best time! I was glad that he was having fun as a camper too! Being around other young people who wanted to make a difference in their world was exciting! It made me want to work harder and do more...I loved that!
When we got back from the camp, we decided that we were going to build a couple of bean tee-pees and also grow strawberries using the Thomas Jefferson garden ideas that W.P. Rawls taught us. We were both excited to get back to our gardens! This trip was wonderful in so many ways, but the best part was getting to spend that experience with my Grandpa.
As I continue to be a grower for Katie’s Krops, I am rewarded in so many other ways than knowing that I am helping others and just growing a garden. Gardening has brought me closer to my family and my community, and it has also taught me a lot about myself and that makes me happy!
Thanks Dad, for listening to radio shows about gardening!